Ice Damming

Ice Damming: What It Is, How To Prevent It, And The Damage It Can Cause To Your Roof

Have you ever heard of ice damming?

It’s a phenomenon that can cause serious damage to your roof and lead to costly repairs. In this article, we’ll discuss what ice damming is, how it forms, and the steps you need to take in order to prevent it from happening on your own home or business. We’ll also look at the potential damage it can cause, so that you can be better informed and make sure your roof is safe!

In the previous blog on roof leaks we had a look at general causes. This article looks in a little more detail at ice damming and as we live in a cold climate it is commonly found during a home inspection in winter.

What is Ice Damming?

 Above is a useful article  to help explain a bit more

Ice damming occurs when water from melting snow refreezes at the edge of your roof, forming a dam that prevents additional melting water from draining off the roof. Ice dams can cause serious damage to your roof and home if left unchecked.

Water that backs up behind an ice dam can leak into your home, causing serious damage to walls, ceilings, and insulation. Ice dams can also cause gutters and downspouts to become clogged and pull away from your home, leading to even more damage.

The best way to prevent ice damming is to keep your attic well-ventilated and insulated. This will help reduce the amount of heat that escapes from your home, which in turn will keep your roof cold and prevent ice dams from forming.

Causes of an Ice Dam

There are a few different things that can cause an them to form on your roof. One is if you have a lot of snowfall and the temperatures are fluctuating. This can cause the snow to melt and refreeze, which causes an ice dam to form. Another cause can be if your gutters are full of debris and are not draining properly. This can cause the water to back up and freeze, which also creates an ice dam. Lastly, if you have heat escaping from your home through the roof, this can melt the snow and create an ice dam as well.

How to Prevent Ice Damming?

Ice damming can occur when snow and ice build up on your roof and prevent heat from escaping. This can cause the snow and ice to melt and refreeze, creating a dam that can block gutters and allow water to back up under shingles. Ice damming can damage your roof, cause leaks, and lead to mold and mildew growth in your home.

There are a few things you can do to prevent ice damming:

-Keep your gutters clean and free of debris so they can drain properly.
-Install heat cables or sheets on your roof to help melting snow and ice drain off.
-Make sure your attic is well ventilated so that heat can escape, preventing the build-up of ice dams.
-Remove snow from your roof regularly to prevent it from accumulating and causing an ice dam.

If you suspect you have an ice dam, have it inspected by a professional as soon as possible. They will be able to determine the extent of the damage and recommend the best course of action for repair or prevention.

Damage Caused by an Ice Dam

When water from melting snow refreezes at the edge of your roof, it can create a dam that prevents water from draining properly. This can lead to leaks and other damage to your roof.

Signs of an Ice Dam

As the temperatures start to dip, it's important to be aware of the potential for ice dams on your roof. Ice dams can form when snow and ice melt and refreeze at the edge of your roof, creating a dam that prevents water from draining properly. This can cause serious damage to your roof and home.

There are a few key signs that you may have an ice dam forming:

- Icicles hanging from your gutters or roof: This is one of the most obvious signs that you have an ice dam. As water melts and refreezes, it forms these icicles. If they're left unchecked, they can grow large enough to break off and fall, potentially causing serious injury.

- Water stains on your ceiling: Another sign that ice dams may be forming is water stains on your ceiling. This is caused by water seeping through cracks in your roof or around edges where the ice dam is blocking proper drainage.

- Damaged shingles: If you notice damaged or missing shingles, it could be a sign of an ice dam. The weight of the ice and water can cause shingles to break or come loose, leading to leaks and further damage.

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to take action right away. Ice dams can cause serious damage to your home if left unchecked, so it's best to call a professional as soon as possible to assess the situation and make necessary repairs

Solutions for Repairing an Ice Dam

If you already have an ice dam, there are a few solutions for repairing the damage. The most important thing to do is to remove the ice dam as soon as possible. You can do this by breaking it up with an ice pick or a chisel, or by using a power washer to blast it off of your roof.

Once the ice dam is removed, you will need to repair any damage that it has caused. This may include replacing shingles or other roofing materials, and repairing any leaks in your roof. If the damage is severe, you may need to consult with a professional roofer to make sure that your roof is repaired properly.

Alternatives to Preventing an Ice Dam

If you live in an area prone to cold winters which we do in Saskatchewan, chances are you've heard of ice damming. Ice damming occurs when the edge of your roof is significantly colder than the rest of the roof surface, causing snow and ice to melt and refreeze at the edge. This can lead to a build-up of ice and eventually cause damage to your roof.

There are a few things you can do to prevent ice damming:

-Install heat tape or cables along the edge of your roof.
-Seal any gaps or cracks in your roof that could be allowing cold air to escape.
-Make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris.
-Apply a water repellent coating to your roof.

If you're already dealing with the problem, there are a few ways to remove it:

-Use an ice pick or chisel to break up the ice.
-Apply heat directly to the ice with a hairdryer or heat gun. -Use a chemical deicer on the ice.

Keep in mind that preventing ice dams is always the best course of action, as trying to remove one can be difficult and dangerous. If you have any questions about preventing or removing an ice dam, be sure to consult with a professional roof inspector.


Ice damming is a major problem for many homeowners, and it can lead to serious damage if not taken care of promptly. It is important to know what signs to look for in order to identify ice dams so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent them from occurring.

Consider have a thermal image scan of your inside your roof along with a roof inspection.

Taking preventive measures such as using roof insulation, installing heat tape, and regularly cleaning your gutters will help reduce the risk of ice damming on your roof. With these tips, you should be able to keep your home safe from this damaging phenomenon.


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